O'Neill SP Prime

Maresias Maneuvers: Best of O'Neill SP Prime

J.J. Jenkins

The O'Neill SP Prime was a showcase of fantastic progressive surfing. Battling for crucial Qualification Series (QS) points, surfers went for broke and airlifted for big points. Here are some of the more impressive boosts from the Prime-rated event in Maresias, Brazil according to event commentator J.J. Jenkins.

Move #1 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) - Frontside air reverse, no grab - Round 1, Heat 24

Toledo's Air Show
Biggest moments for the Brazilian on his way to the top of the podium at the O'Neill SP Prime.

Could someone please hand Filipe Toledo a gold cape? Or tell Marvel Comics there's a new superhero in town?

Technically, this giant frontside air reverse was superseded and it was also not the highest scoring wave of the O'Neill SP Prime at Maresias, but it's worthy of a No. 1 pick for what it ultimately represented -- an ominous prelude to an astonishing individual performance.

Filipe, along with Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS) and Italo Ferreira (BRA), were the guys to beat heading into Maresias. But with this single move, Filipe set the bar and had the whole beach... well... flipping out.

Score: 9.93 points

Move #2 – Filipe Toledo - Huge backside air reverse. Perfect landing - Round 2, Heat 12

Another audacious move from Filipe. This time, it scored him the event's only perfect 10-point ride -– perfect scores, from every judge, across the board. Check the height, check the rotation, the timing and, above all else, the ridiculous landing.

Score: 10 points

Move #3 – Jack Freestone (AUS) - Big backside air reverse. Not-so perfect landing - Round 3, Heat 8

Freestone's Backside Air Reverse
Jack Freestone lifts above the lip during the O'Neill SP Prime.

Poor Jack, the two-time World Junior Champion and new No. 11 on the QS rankings, has a pretty sweet air game himself. Unfortunately, he drew Filipe three times at Maresias. The results were the same every time; Jack beaten by the kid with velcro feet and cat-like reflexes.

This big ol' backside blast, even though he didn't make it, was about as close as anyone came to matching Filipe. Jack scored a 2.00, but if he'd landed sweetly, well, who knows... 10 maybe?

Score: 2.00 points

Move #4 – Filipe Toledo - Kerrupt Flip - Round of 24 (no losers round), Heat 8

Yet another ridiculously fun move to watch during a heat where Filipe was throwing away eights and nines. Talk about mixing it up. Filipe nailed more highlight clips in three days than most surfers obtain in months.

Score: 9.93 points

Move #5 – Carlos Munoz (CRI) - Forehand Dorothy Air (aka Baby Superman) - Round 2, Heat 9

Carlos Muoz (CRI) Carlos Munoz, Dorothy Air - WSL / photo:DanielSmorigo

Last time we checked, Superman flew with his body comfortably out-stretched. So in the heat of the moment your commentator nicknamed this move a “Dorothy Air” because it looked more like Carlos clicked his heels together, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. For a fella who flies the Costa Rican flag proudly, you can bet he'd agree with Dorothy when she says, "there's no place like home."

Score: 9.00 points

As an aside, Ferreira also deserves a mention for his should-have-been-a-10 frontside rotor in Quarterfinal 2, but what would a Top 5 list be without a little controversy?

J.J. Jenkins has overseen media operations at more than 40 World Championship Tour events, and is the former Editor of Australia's Surfing Life magazine. He attended the O'Neill SP Prime as part of the live event commentary.